Greece debt: Varoufakis accuses creditors of ‘terrorism’

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4 July 2015 published at BBC

The BBC’s Chris Morris reports on tensions in Greece ahead of Sunday’s referendum

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has accused Athens’ creditors of “terrorism”, the day before a referendum on an international bailout.
Speaking to Spain’s El Mundo newspaper, he said the country’s lenders wanted to “instil fear in people”.
Huge rallies were held by both sides in the referendum on Friday night.
The government has urged voters to say “No” to the terms of a bailout package, but opponents warn that this would see Greece ejected from the eurozone.
Greece’s current bailout programme with the European Commission, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) ran out on Tuesday.
Banks have been shut all week, with limits imposed on cash withdrawals.

Yanis Varoufakis said Greek banks would reopen on Tuesday, whatever the outcome of the vote
Mr Varoufakis said the so-called “troika” of creditors wanted a “yes” vote to win so they could humiliate the Greeks.
“Why did they force us to close the banks? To instil fear in people. And spreading fear is called terrorism,” he said.
He added that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would still reach an agreement with creditors if the result was “No”, and that banks in Greece would reopen on Tuesday whatever the outcome.

Analysis: BBC Economics editor Robert Peston
If Greeks vote “Yes” to the deal with creditors – pension cuts, VAT rises and all – just maybe the European Central Bank (ECB), whose governing council meets on Monday morning, will lift the ceiling a fraction on the provision of Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA).
That might not permit banks to start operating as normal with immediate effect. But it could allow the 60-euro daily ceiling on withdrawals to be raised a bit, and the total freeze on transfers abroad to be eased somewhat.
And that might allow the Greek economy to be taken out of the deep freeze it has been in since banks were ordered to more-or-less close last Monday.
But if Greeks vote “No”, as the government wishes them to do, there would be zero chance of the ECB turning on the ELA tap again.
Life-or-death referendum

Correspondents say it is unclear whether this will happen.
The BBC’s Chris Morris in Athens says that, for many, this has become a choice about whether to stay in the eurozone. With so much at stake, he says, the rhetoric is getting nasty.
Tens of thousands of Greeks attended the rival rallies on Friday night.
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Media caption
Stefanaki Ioanna: “A yes vote will give Greece a chance”
Mr Tsipras told supporters Greece needed “say a proud ‘No’ to [European] ultimatums” to sign up to fresh austerity.
But he also used similar language to Mr Varoufakis, urging Greeks to “say ‘No’ to ultimatum, to blackmail, to the campaign of terror”.
He denied a “No” vote would mean leaving the European Union – though opponents said they believed Mr Tsipras could not deliver on such a promise.
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Ballot paper question
“Must the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the Eurogroup of 25 June, 2015, and comprised of two parts which make up their joint proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled “reforms for the completion of the current programme and beyond” and the second “Preliminary debt sustainability analysis”.
Voters must check one of two boxes – “not approved/no” or, below it, “approved/yes”
Voices from a Greek island
The question that makes (almost) no sense

Nikos, a doctor, told AFP: “They cannot pretend any longer that it’s not about leaving the euro… and outside the euro lies only misery.”
Opinion polls on Friday suggested the country was evenly split. An Ipsos survey put “Yes” supporters at 44% and “No” at 43%.
Opinion polls within 24 hours of the voting are banned, as are rallies.

“No” supporters turned out in force in Athens on Friday

The “Yes” rally took place close by
Greece’s left-wing Syriza government was elected in January on an anti-austerity platform.
The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm – one of the “troika” of creditors along with the International Monetary Fund and the ECB – wants Athens to raise taxes and slash welfare spending to meet its debt obligations.
On Tuesday, the previous eurozone bailout expired, depriving Greece of access to billions of euros in funds, and Athens missed a €1.5bn (£1.1bn) repayment to the IMF.

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